Outdoor First Aid

Saving Lives: When to Evacuate, First-Aid Essentials

Learn to decide when to walk out and when to stay put with a variety of backcountry medical ailments.

When to Evacuate |First-Aid Essentials

Backcountry rescues can be hard, costly, and slow. But making the call to get outside help can prevent significant pain and discomfort—and possibly save a life. If a patient can walk out on his own, that’s almost always the best option. Use this chart to help guide your decision-making process.

First-Aid Essentials | When to Evacuate
Consider your activity, trip length, and group size when determining amounts of these WFR-recommended first-aid supplies.

>> Latex or nitrile rubber gloves

>> CPR mask

>> Wound care supplies (povidone-iodine wipes, steri-strips, transparent-film bandages)

>> Athletic tape

>> Tweezers

>> Triangular bandages/webbing

>> Paper and pen/pencil

>> Headlamp or mini penlight

>> Electrolyte replacement powder or pills

>> Glucose-heavy snack, without caffeine


Don’t administer prescription meds without the prescribed’s assistance. A botched dosage or accidental misuse can increase the potential for life-threatening complications—and injury lawsuits. Using them also negates your protection under Good Samaritan laws. But, consider these over-the-counter additions:

>> Cavit Spackle for teeth. This temporary dental adhesive seals open cavities and broken teeth.

>> Aspirin A fever reducer and mild painkiller, it’s also an anticoagulant that can help prevent heart attacks and reduce heart damage during an attack.

>> Ibuprofen An anti-inflammatory and painkiller. Max adult dose is 800 mg every four hours.

>> Benadryl (diphenhydramine) An antihistamine for most allergies, and a slow-onset remedy for the intense puffiness, wheezing, and bronchial constriction resulting from an anaphylactic reaction.